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Chrysler Fiat Busted by the EPA for Deceptive Diesel Emissions

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By George Khoury, Esq. on January 13, 2017 6:00 AM

The American automaker Chrysler Fiat, which claims to be America's Import, has unintentionally followed the lead of an actual popular import, Volkswagen. Unfortunately for the US automaker, the lead they are following isn't related to German driving culture. Instead, it's getting busted by the Environmental Protection Agency for deceptive diesel engine emissions.

Only the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 models with the 3.0 liter diesel engine have been listed as possibly being involved. Additionally, this only effects the model years 2014, 2015, and 2016.

Hidden Software Found in Diesel Vehicles

The EPA announced yesterday that an investigation into Chrysler Fiat's diesel engines has revealed that the automaker's vehicles contain software and devices that change the way the vehicle operates when it is being tested for emissions. While the EPA has stopped short of alleging that the design of the software and devices is an intentional attempt to circumvent emissions laws, or amount to a "defeat device," it appears that the investigation is actively looking into that possibility.

Chrysler Fiat is denying liability.

The Chrysler "Defeat Device" - Engineered Beautifully?

The big issue that was discovered as part of the Volkswagon scandal was that automaker's use of so-called defeat devices. A defeat device is any type of auto equipment, usually part of the emissions computer, that attempts to circumvent or fake the results of an emissions test. For instance, a defeat device might restrict the amount of fuel being delivered to the engine, or change the way an engine runs, during an emissions test, in order to produce more favorable results.

As the EPA's notice of violation explains, there have been 8 particular devices or pieces of software discovered that were used by Chrysler Fiat, that the company did not disclose to the EPA as was required. The 8 devices are linked to producing shifty emissions testing results.

Penalties

Chrysler Fiat will likely be facing rather severe penalties in the form of civil fines as a result of their failure to make the proper disclosures to the EPA, even if it turns out that no defeat devices were actually used. If defeat devices are found to have been used, like in the VW matter, criminal charges could follow, and the penalties could be much, much worse.

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